Written by Jonathan Hickman
Art by Leinil Yu
Published by Marvel Comics
Release Date: May 14, 2014
Jonathan Hickman cranked up the intensity in the last issue of Avengers and with issue #29 a deception from the early issues of New Avengers is brought to light, taking the intensity from last issue and firing it straight through the roof. Secrets are revealed, events are remembered, and the #&%* hits the fan.
There are few characters in comics that have a relationship like Captain America and Iron Man. Often referring to each other as brothers (sarcastically when required) these two characters are typically in the thick of the nastiest parts of the big conflicts, and are the figureheads of the mighty Avengers. These icons threw down once in the past and it rocked the Marvel U for years to come and with Avengers #29, Jonathan Hickman rings the bell and fires up round two. For readers who weren’t reading New Avengers at the time, Hickman recaps the event that launches this issue, so you don’t need to worry about reading an entire series to understand the emotional weight of this comic. He provides readers with everything they need, though people with years of investment in these characters will get more from this comic. The weight of all these characters have gone through together rests heavily on every sentence of dialogue in this comic and Hickman absolutely nails the tone. As with last issue, he writes Tony Stark brilliantly, the carefree playboy that switches to ‘serious mode’ at the drop of a hat, his sins since the start of Marvel NOW! finally coming back to haunt him. This conflict escalates in a manner very different than his encounter with Banner, as he is not dealing with an intellectual this time. He’s dealing with Captain America, the moral compass of the Marvel Universe, a man he and the Illuminati crossed over a year ago and it is time for retribution. As well as Hickman writes Tony, he is probably even better with the voice of Steve in this issue, as little can break the calm demeanor of the Super Soldier. In this issue he’s a man on the edge of losing it, the rage in his words is palpable and we see a side of Cap we’ve really only seen once before. Steve Rogers does not handle betrayal well, and the fallout of the actions of the Illuminati leads to an intense and wildly entertaining read.
Leinil Yu handles art duties in this issue and it was very smart of Marvel editorial to shift the art to Yu over Larroca. This is not a comic for a crisp and clean artist to draw, and Yu gets down and dirty to hit the emotional beats in this comic. His artwork evokes the raw emotions of the characters very well, using shadow to constantly highlight just how in the dark most of the characters in this comic are to what is going on. Tony’s lab is not a bright, sterile environment, but rather a dark, brooding place where anything could be lurking in the shadows. This is an issue of secrets and betrayal, and Yu uses shadow to convey this brilliantly. His hyper detailed work captures the emotions of all the Avengers in this issue very well, from the smugness of Tony Stark, the rage of Steve Rogers, to the confusion but trust in the eyes of Thor. This work is as strong as his early Infinity work with Hickman, and it is obvious these two work well together. The gravity of this situation in Avengers cannot be described in words alone and Yu’s work brings the visual weight such a situation requires.
Hickman and Yu have dropped a bombshell on the Marvel Universe with Avengers #29, throwing one hell of a curve at the end to keep readers on their toes, and take this series in an unanticipated direction. This is not Civil War 2.0 (yet) but the emotions are running just as high and I can’t wait to see where this is going. Avengers is a must-read again, and if Original Sin leads to comics this strong across the board, this will be the best Marvel event in a very long time.
The Verdict: 9.5/10